Nominations are flying in for this year's Powercor Geelong Business Excellence Awards!

There are plenty of people keen to see local businesses recognised.

Entries officially opened on 24 February and, if you're keen to enter your business, there's two more information expos being held at Deakin University's Waterfront campus that will explain the entry process. Come along to check out the new official 2017 Awards video created by Robot Army Productions.

You will also get the chance to meet with the judges and past Award winners.

The next one is on 7 March with the second on 17 March. Both are being held in the Sally Walker Building, Deakin Waterfront. To book in go to and follow the link on the homepage.

Some exciting changes to the GBEA process are:

a. Two new categories – Business Leader and Young Entrepreneur
b. Customer Service has been re-introduced as a core category
c. Reduction of word limit and simplification of entry questions

Make 2017 your year to shine!

Visit the awards website to register your interest.

Kelli Finlayson
Operations Manager
52 222234 ext 2

While as a nation we collectively face a large retirement savings gap, there are a number of smart things you could consider doing to help make sure your future financial security isn’t at risk.

The savings gap

Most Australians are financially unprepared for retirement, partly because we are living longer than ever before and we have higher expectations of our retirement lifestyle.

Research conducted by Rice Warner Actuaries reveals that Australia has a shortfall in super of close to $1 trillion1.

What’s more, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) says the average couple needs at least $510,000 to fund a comfortable retirement, while a single person needs at least $430,000 (both calculations assume receipt of part Age Pension)2.

If you’re relying on your employer compulsory super contributions alone to meet this retirement goal, you could be in for a nasty surprise. According to ASFA, if you’re earning $50,000 a year, your lump sum benefit after 30 years of employer contributions would be just $183,000 (assuming 9% super guarantee contributions, investment earnings of 7% and current tax rates).2

While the gradual increase in the super guarantee rate to 12% by 2025 will go some way towards closing this gap, it’s unlikely to be enough2.

Strategies to help close the gap

1. Set your target

The first step in closing the super gap is to understand how much you will need to create the retirement you want. While this may seem obvious, research by Investment Trends shows that 68% of Australians haven’t set a target for their retirement savings or income3. Your adviser can help you identify your retirement target and recommend strategies to close your super gap.

Read more: Closing the super savings gap

We are all aware of the term “Phishing” and the e-mails we get from members of the Nigeria Royal Family wanting to share their fortune with us. We also know the dangers of responding direct to e-mails from Banks and the ATO asking for our personal information. These ones are easy for us to detect and dismiss. Generally these e-mails are sent on mass to thousands of people with a hope of catching at least some, kind of like dragging a net through the water.

This attempt to extract funds and personal information by criminal organisations has now been refined and concentrated such that they now direct the attack on a single individual or organisation with a single shot. Just like a spear fisherman might do, hence the name Spear Phishing.

The criminals will use any public information they can obtain about your business which is generally available on the business website. After they have identified the key people in the organisation they will set to work at trawling all social media to gain familiarity about the people they wish to involve in the scam.

Once they have sufficient information they will send an e-mail which is generally sent from a person of authority (CEO, President etc.) to a subordinate with bank authority such as accounts payable. The message will be personalised and will generally be urgent in nature and will require an immediate funds transfer to an account which is nominated in the body of the e-mail. The message will also sometimes include a reference to something that the criminals have learned on Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media to add familiarity and legitimacy to the source of the communication.

Read more: Spear Phishing: a Marine Leisure Activity or Cyberfraud?

Over the coming months you will begin to see changes at LBW as we roll out our new brand. It is our intention to see this period of transition completed by the end of this financial year. Next week we will celebrate the launch of our new name and logo - LBW Business + Wealth Advisors.

The reasoning behind the new name is to recognize the shift in services we provide to our clients and to align to the future direction of the Firm. We remain a Chartered Accounting Firm and will continue with our traditional compliance and tax return services. The new name recognizes the growth in our offerings over the last 3-4 years and reflects all that LBW offers – more than just accounting. Our services include business advice and overall wealth creation and retirement planning advice.

The new logo, sees the introduction of the plus symbol +++. The plus symbol is reflective of what we offer to all our clients, our staff and our community connections. Represents partnerships, working together and collaboratively to identify and meet the individual needs of all our connections.

The Staff and Principals are extremely excited by the opportunities the fresh new look and direction offers LBW and we look forward to bringing this to life with you.